Letter to the Sunday Times about Illegal Dumping of Medical Waste in Welkom - Wednesday, 2nd December 2009

The Editor

Medical waste scandals are old in South Africa.  groundWork and civil society in general have been warning of this since 1994.  Government however has buried their head in the sand on this issue. 

A formal public review of the industry and the governance of the industry is urgently needed.  What should be investigated is:

1) The composition and structure of the health care waste industry, with the aim of understanding how the industry operates including how much waste is gererated;

2) How government tenders for the collection, treatment and disposal of health care waste are awarded and monitored;

3) The capacity of national, provincial and local authorities to monitor and enforce compliance with legislation managing health care waste;

4) Cost-effective alternative technologies available that are safer and less polluting than failing incinerators we have.

This process could present recommendations for the improved regulation and management of health care waste in South Africa.

Do not leave it only to government.  Involve the public!

Bobby Peek
Director
groundWork, Friends of the Earth, SA
P.O. Box 2375
Pietermaritzburg
3200
South Africa